Exposition is a dying art! Introducing students to the background material of a passage or book is critical to thorough comprehension. This teaching method was a mainstay of the classroom until the “education revolution” of the late 20th Century. Of course, the pendulum has swung full circle and advisors are suggesting once again that bringing in the full scope of social, political, and economic background enhances the reading of most any literature. This is just as true when teaching the Bible. Even the youngest listener can participate in expository exploration.
Peter was a fisherman by occupation and lived by the Sea of Galilee. Draw a simple map of modern day Israel and show students where this is in relation to where they live. Discuss what kind of tools a fisherman might use and display those or pictures of rods, nets, boats, sails, etc. Talk about tools or items their parents use in their jobs for comparison. Let them draw a picture of those items their parents use. Some students will need an explanation about how fishing was an occupation for Peter, not a hobby or sport. This visualization of the story immensely expands the understanding for teaching the next step, the metaphor or comparison to the Christian’s duty.
Peter witnessed (Luke 5) how following the command of Jesus to let down the nets yielded results the entire crew of fishermen had not been able to achieve though they had worked hard the entire day (verse 5). Because Peter knew his trade and that they had done all that was humanly possible to catch fish, the nets bulging with fish could only have come from the Heavenly Father. This was a direct result of following Jesus’ command. And this is our lesson; when we follow His commands and let Him lead in our lives, He blesses abundantly over what we can do on our own.
My nephew, Daniel Shrader, is a missionary to Russia. He signs all his correspondence, “Until the nets are full.” He continues following God’s command until the net is to be drawn up and his work is ended (verse 6). Some students enjoy acting out lessons and trying to inject different responses from the character (Peter), then playing out what they think will be the consequences. Exposition requires drawing in every possible addition to your teaching!